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Daiyan Henley named finalist for Butkus Award

by Contributed report/WSU Athletics
| November 22, 2022 11:10 AM

CHICAGO - Washington State linebacker Daiyan Henley was named a finalist for the 2022 Butkus Award, The Butkus Foundation announced Tuesday.

The Butkus Award is presented annually to the best linebacker in college football. Note on criteria: The Butkus Award is focused on recognizing linebackers who consistently play off the ball on their feet in a two-point stance in traditional LB form. (Outside linebackers primarily rushing the passer in 30 fronts are regarded as pass rushers, not linebackers.) Henley is one of five finalists, the only player from the Pac-12 Conference and is the first Butkus Award Finalist in program history.

Henley enters the week second in the Pac-12 Conference 20 in the country with 102 tackles while his 12 tackles-for-loss are also second-most in the conference. According to Pro Football Focus College, Henley owns the best pass-rush grade among Pac-12 linebackers, second-best overall linebacker defensive grade in the Pac-12 and with the third-best tackling grade by a linebacker in the country.

The Los Angeles native is tied for No. 12 in the conference with four sacks, owns five double-digit tackle games this season including a game-highs of 11 at No. 6 USC, 13 at Oregon State, 12 against No. 14 Utah and 10 against Arizona State. Henley also paces the team with six special teams tackles. Following the win over Colorado State week three, Henley earned Bednarik Award, Reese's Senior Bowl and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week accolades after making 13 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. Henley earned a criminal justice degree from Nevada and graduate transferred to WSU this past January after earning All-Mountain West Conference second-team honors last season.

Earlier this season, Henley was added to the Bednarik Award Watch List, presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football and was named a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. Henley was also named to the Midseason All-America Team by The Associated Press.

The Butkus Award was established in Dick Butkus' honor in 1985 to celebrate the nation's best collegiate linebacker. High school and pro honors were added in 2008. The Award is characterized as the "Defensive Heisman" recognizing the critical yet frequently overlooked role of defensive leaders.

The winner of each award will be named on or before Dec. 7 by the award committee. The 2022 Butkus Award winners will be honored at a televised event on Jan. 21, 2023, at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The event will again feature namesake Dick Butkus and numerous noted NFL Alumni. Ticket and sponsorship information is available by contacting the Butkus Foundation.

2022 Collegiate Butkus Award Finalists

• Jack Campbell, Iowa

Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Georgia

Dayian Henley, Washington State

Ivan Pace, Cincinnati

Drew Sanders, Arkansas

• Denotes repeat selection

Founded in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs. A 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists guides the selection process. The Butkus Foundation has presented the high school and professional awards since 2008. The collegiate award is now in its 38th season.

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